Netgear Powerline AV+ 500 review: Maybe size actually does matter

CNET editor Dong Ngo checks out Netgear's new Powerline AV+ 500 adapter (XAV5501).

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If it were half its current physical size, Netgear's new Powerline AV+ 500 adapter (model XAV5501) would still be very bulky for a power-line adapter. However, it's big for good reasons.

First off all, the XAV5501 comes with a built-in pass-through power socket, allowing another device to share the same wall socket that it's plugged into. This is actually a very important feature, as more often than not, there's only one power outlet available.

The most important reason, however, is the performance. Supporting the new power-line 500Mbps standard, the XAV5501 blew us away in our testing, offering real-world sustained throughput speed around 50 percent higher than that of a traditional Ethernet connection. The adapter registered by far the fastest power-line connections we've seen, much faster than the TrendNet TPL-401E2K, which is another power-line 500Mbps-based adapter.

If you don't know what a power-line adapter is, it's a device that turns your home's existing electrical wiring into that of a computer network. You'll need at least two adapters to create the first connection. And at a street price of around $80 per unit, the XAV5501 will make a great initial investment.

Apart from being a big, quite literally, addition to your home network, a couple of XAV5501 adapters will also make an excellent alternative to Wi-Fi, especially for those far corners of the basement, where a wireless signal can't reach.

To find out more about the device and power-line networking in general, check out the full review of the Netgear Powerline AV+ 500 adapter XAV5501.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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